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Putting your best foot forward on social media

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Frith Wilson-Hughes is the Brand Lead Partner at Spark NZ.

When it comes to social media, one size doesn't fit all.

The first consideration should always be to identify your audience. What are their demographics, like age and location? And what kinds of content would resonate with them?

Curate your business’s social channels with content specific to its platform. This means treating each social channel as its own entity, picking and choosing the right message and how it appears. Each platform has a different purpose. All are constantly evolving. For example, Facebook’s News Feed algorithm currently favours video while Instagram’s is image-led. The advice around Twitter is to share clever snippets of prose versus long-form content, which might be better suited to LinkedIn. Read more about the Facebook News Feed algorithm

Bear in mind too, that not every business message is appropriate as a social message. Sharing non-social content on social channels can be detrimental to the specific campaign, not to mention the brand.

Curate your content

So, how do you know if a message should be shared on social media platforms?

To find the answer, ask yourself these five questions:

  1. Do you have a production and/or media budget for this post? You'll be unlikely to reach your target audience without the budget to promote your content.
  2. Does it invite a response? Ensure when you create your post that you’ve set a single-minded goal. Do you want your customers to like, comment or share? Do you want them to watch a video or follow a link? Ensure your primary call to action is clear.
  3. Is it timely or relevant? Does it tell a story or tap into an existing narrative? Content that contributes to a larger conversation tends to perform better.
  4. Will it entertain or reward your audience? Is it useful to your customers? A good question to ask yourself is, ”Would I engage with this content if it appeared in my own news feed?”
  5. Is your message concise? Social content from businesses performs best when it's short and sweet.

If you can't answer "yes" to all these questions, think twice about posting your content.

Follow up

What do you do now that you've posted?

It’s so important to follow through with any social content you post. Social media is about connectivity – it’s a two-way street. Make sure your audience knows you’re listening to what they have to say. But you also need to strike the right tone as a business.

Here are a few quick tips on managing interactions with your audience on social media:

  1. Be timely. Avoid leaving people “on hold”. Ensure your responses are timely. Always answer any customer questions.
  2. Be discreet. If you’re dealing with private information such as customer details, move the conversation to private message or DM. Remember, social media is just that – social.
  3. Be respectful. Validate people’s individual views and experiences, but only if they’re expressed respectfully. Know that there are some fires to which your reply will just add fuel.
  4. Be positive. Accentuate the positive. Make sure to reply to those who support what you’re trying to do.
  5. Be aware. If you make a mistake or offend an individual or community, a sincere apology goes a long way. Ignoring or deleting comments only highlights an incident. Remember, everyone knows how to take a screenshot.

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